Subsidies hit record P131B in 2017
The national government gave away a record P131.1 billion in subsidy to state-run corporations last year, with the agency in-charge of the country’s health insurance program getting the biggest amount.
The total subsidy granted to government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) in 2017 jumped 27 percent from P103.2 billion in 2016, the latest data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.
Last year, government financial institutions received P1 billion in subsidy; major nonfinancial government corporations, P60.3 billion, and other government corporations, P69.8 billion.
The top recipient of subsidy last year was Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), which got P47.2 billion.
The latest data on its website showed that in 2016, PhilHealth had 41.2 million members with 52.2 million dependents, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to 93.4 million or 91 percent of the projected 2016 population.
In 2016, PhilHealth also cornered the largest amount of subsidy worth P43.8 billion.
Next year, PhilHealth will also receive the biggest chunk of about P57.1 billion in subsidy from the government.
The GOCC mainly responsible for irrigation development and management, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) received the second largest subsidy in 2017 amounting to P30.2 billion.
To recall, President Duterte during his campaign promised free irrigation for farmers.
As such, the NIA was allocated a higher P38.4 billion under the 2017 national budget not only to provide free irrigation but also to build new irrigation systems as well as rehabilitate and restore existing facilities.
An additional allocation of P2 billion was intended as irrigation fee subsidy in lieu of the collection of irrigation service fees.
The NIA had been collecting P1.8 to 2 billion in irrigation service fees a year, according to reports.
The third biggest recipient of national government subsidy last year was the National Housing Authority with P19.6 billion. —BEN O. DE VERA
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